Those of you who have been following my Kiva Fellows blog – and I appreciate every one of you! – have surely realized by now that it’s over. I wrapped up my Kiva work in late May, returned to the United States on June 28th, and have spent the months since in transition to the next stage of my life.
And what stage might that be?
In a few short days, I’m moving to Boston to start a master’s program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, with the aim of training myself for a career in international development. Kiva has shown me beyond a doubt that this is the field I want to pursue. My main area of focus will be human security, which seeks to teach students how to tackle international development problems that span economics, public health, humanitarian relief, conflict resolution, and many other fields without being limited to a single perspective or approach. For my second focus, I’m trying to decide between development economics and humanitarian studies; the latter springs directly from my Kiva work, and especially from my experiences with Nagorno-Karabakh IDPs in Azerbaijan, which have struck me more deeply than anything else over the past year.
I’m sure my next few years hold many international adventures in store – and hopefully, some will involve the former Soviet republics, which I love even more deeply after this past year. If I end up blogging about my experiences again, I’ll be sure to let you folks know.
Twelve months ago, I took a risk. I traded a comfortable job and a steady existence in Philadelphia for a year bouncing between countries without income; I jumped headlong into a field in which I had no experience, into countries and societies where I had never lived, into difficult linguistic environments fraught with frequent hardship and frustration. And it was one of the most rewarding and life-changing decisions I’ve ever made.
Never be afraid to take risks. Never hesitate to take the first step toward your dreams. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?